The woman who stood before her was a symphony in scarlet. She was tall and beautiful with long copper red hair, a pale, unblemished complexion and clothed in a long crimson gown. One might mistake her for a younger woman but for her eyes. Her visage was young but her eyes showed the weariness of a much older woman.
I suspect she is older than time itself, thought Sansa.
“I understand you sent for me, my lady”, said Melisandre as she removed her red cloak and passed it to the attending servant girl. The girl glanced at Sansa who dismissed her with a nod.
Sansa gestured to the red woman to take a seat before sitting down at her desk. Then she leaned back in her chair as she coolly appraised the priestess.
My husband’s other woman, thought Sansa with some amusement.
Jon and Sam rarely argued but the red woman had been the cause of many a vociferous quarrel. Sam worried that Melisandre was exercising undue influence on Jon and had beguiled him. Jon had laughed off his concerns at first and then became more defensive the longer Sam persisted in denigrating her.
“She’s a charlatan, Jon”, Sam had insisted loudly, his voice rising as he became more distressed.
“I’ll admit she has made mistakes in her interpretations”, Jon had responded hotly. “But there is always a kernel of truth in what she says”.
Sansa was alternately wary and skeptical of the woman’s powers. She stared in fascination at the ruby necklace that was said she wore at all times.
“I have heard that the gem glows when you are working your magic”, she commented. The red woman’s hand flew to her throat and she fingered the ruby nervously.
“It is not so much magic as channeling the power of R’hllor, the one and only true god”, she replied serenely as she recovered her poise.
Sansa gave her a disarming smile before continuing.
“I expect Maester Tarly has told you what has transpired”, she said.
Melisandre nodded and leaned forward, her expression one of sympathy.
“My condolences, my lady”, she offered. “Lord Snow was a very kind and generous man”.
He was indeed, agreed Sansa silently. And perhaps it was his kindness and faith in your abilities that ultimately led to his death.
“What do you require of me, my lady? Would you like me to perform the traditional burial ritual before Lord Snow’s body is consigned to the flames?” Melisandre asked.
Sansa stared at her for a few seconds before shaking her head.
“No”, she replied bluntly. “I want you to perform a resurrection”.
The red priestess sat back and blinked rapidly. There was a brief look of astonishment before she regained her composure.
“Are you certain this is what you really want?” Melisandre cautioned.
“I am”, replied Sansa firmly.
The red woman sat in contemplative silence while Sansa drummed her fingers impatiently on her desk.
“Can you do it?” Sansa demanded.
Melisandre gave her a scornful look.
“Do you doubt the power of R’hllor?” she replied angrily. “For I am merely a conduit for his words”.
Sansa stared at her briefly before replying.
“I am prepared to believe in any god that has the power to restore my husband to me”, she answered quietly.
Melisandre frowned before continuing.
“Assuming I perform such an act on your behalf…I must warn you that he will not be the same man he was before he died”, she said as she unconsciously touched the ruby at her neck. “And this might lead to tragedy in the end”.
Sansa narrowed her eyes as she studied the red woman. The story that had been passed on was that Melisandre, at the insistence of Stannis’ wife, Selyse, had called upon the powers of R’hllor to resurrect Stannis when he died. But, upon his revival, he fell into a deep well of depression. It was as if the fire within him had been snuffed out. In the end, he threw himself into the sea from his tower on Dragonstone and into the arms of the Drowned God.
“I have no fear of such consequences because this situation is different”, replied Sansa. “I need you to revive only his body”.
Melisandre looked at her with barely disguised disdain.
“What good is a man without a soul?” she contended. “He would be a monster, no better than those mindless wights that terrorize the countryside. I refuse to countenance such an unnatural act”.
“His soul resides safely in another”, snapped Sansa. “When his body has been revived then his soul will return to its owner”.
A look of understanding passed over the red woman’s face.
“Ah…” she said, “well at least he heeded my words and kept his wolf by his side when they met”.
Sansa gaped at her.
“You knew?” she sputtered. “You knew they were going to kill him?”
“Gods can be jealous, spiteful creatures, my lady”, replied Melisandre calmly. “I suspected that Lord Snow would be punished for bringing dragons to the north and challenging the power of the Great Other”.
“Time is pressing, my lady”, the red woman continued as she rose to her feet. “If you sincerely want me to bring your husband back to you then it must be done before sundown. As well you know, the night is dark and full of terrors so we must make haste to bring Lord Snow back into the light before he is lost to the darkness forever”.
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